I asked Joe what R&R stood for. He gave me some random answer and then told me it was really called "Mid-tour leave" so I decided our R&R would be called Rest and Recharge. And it was definitely a recharge for us both, and our relationship. It's kinda weird having a long distance marriage over Skype. Okay, who am I fooling, it's really weird to have a marriage over Skype. And our marriage needed this break.
Joe has the worst luck when traveling. I joke that if we ever go anywhere together I will leave first and then Joe can come rolling in later, after his flights are bumped or canceled, and his laptop is dropped by the drunk taxi driver. So once again, in true Joe fashion, he had a great flight schedule. PLUS he couldn't drink because he was in uniform. I picked him up in 2007 when he was PCSing from Germany to Kansas and I PRAYED that he was drunk most of the time so he wouldn't be pissed at the end of the day. And luckily, he was. But alas, Soldiers cant drink while they are on duty. And it was made perfectly clear that they were still on duty until they made it to Colorado Springs. So after being not so happy about the whole "last combat troops in Iraq" nonsense, turns out, they had priority on ALL on Joe's flights and he was bumped for basically a day while he was on his way here. His initial itinerary was just about too good to be true anyway. I should have known better. But I didn't anticipate the exodus of Iraq troops getting in the way.
Joe petting Lily the skunk at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo
But as soon as he got here, the party started!! We went to the Colorado State Fair, the local zoo (Joe's fave), a Colorado Rockies baseball game with 2 of his good friends from Germany, the Royal Gorge lunch train (awesome!), and the Royal Gorge Bridge & Park. And we ATE! Joe has lost probably 20lbs in the last 6 months. He doesn't have it to loose! So I fed him well! We ate out a lot, hitting up all of the places Joe has been dreaming about. We have found some new favorites. And we even cooked at home some, and made some amazing dinners together. It was so much fun cooking with Joe again.
Joe and his beer on the Royal Gorge lunch train
It seems like I just picked him up at the airport. I will remember that moment until the day I die. I got up that morning and was excited, but not crazy or anything. I took a shower and actually pondered why I wasn't more excited about Joe's arrival. I put Rigel in his room and got in my car like normal. I pulled on to the main road and completely lost it. Out of nowhere! I didn't see those tears coming at all. My hands started shaking and I admit it, I started speeding a little bit. Parking at the airport was agony! But once I got into the airport I calmed down. I watched these two little boys ask where daddy was. We were in what we thought was the waiting area, chatting away. Her husband was from the same unit as Joe and also coming home on R&R. She suddenly got a phone call from her husband from the phone bank on the first floor. She grabbed her babies and ran to the escalators. So I stood up and started to walk behind her. But then I got this urge to turn around. And there he was. Walking all alone down the hallway. The girliest squeal escaped me as I ran past the 'Do Not Enter' sign and grabbed him. I will never forget how tight he hugged me.